Planes, Trains and Drains: London's Booming Infrastructure Business


Despite recessionary pressures, London is experiencing a level of investment in infrastructure unseen since the 19th century. This NLA exhibition examines the far-reaching changes to London’s infrastructure that are taking place, how they will be paid for, how the UK will benefit in the long term and what needs to happen next to maintain London’s competitive position.

With 1.25 million more people living in the capital in the next 20 years and 750,000 new jobs, the need for investment in London’s creaking infrastructure is overwhelming. Well-planned infrastructure is critical to unlocking new areas of development in London, delivering convergence across the city and maintaining London’s business competitiveness. Similar pressures drove the Victorians to address their own infrastructure shortcomings – The Great Stink of 1858 bears unacceptable comparison with the 39m tonnes of sewage we currently pour into the Thames each year.

Much is already underway in the capital – Crossrail, upgrades to the Underground, urban regeneration in Stratford and King’s Cross, and new cycling infrastructure. But even Crossrail will be full to capacity by 2031. So how do we speed up planning, financing and delivery of new projects? Which of the drawing board schemes – Crossrail Two, the Northern Line extension, High Speed Two, the Thames Tideway Tunnel and a new London airport – will succeed?

One thing is clear – there can be no resting on laurels. For London to retain and strengthen its competitive position in the global economy and improve standards of living for all, and help kickstart the economy, speedy transition from drawing board to tunnelling will be essential.

This exhibition will be supported by a series of events:


Free breakfast talk 11 April:
The Case for the Thames Tideway Tunnel

NLA half day conference 21 May:
Unlocking the Capital: How will future transport investments support London’s growth?